We did more than just sleep today, but we did sleep in for quite a while before moseying down to breakfast with Collie, Itamal, and Katia. Then we packed up our stuff (we only were able to book one room in the hostel we were in) and took it down to the luggage hold and went to the noon pilgrim mass. I know many of you are thinking "again?", but when something is as beautiful as the pilgrim mass, you attend it every chance you get.
It isn't just that the cathedral is gorgeous, although if all you did throughout the entire mass was examine all the nuances of the architecture and sculptures, you'd be there long after the mass had ended. And it isn't just about the swinging of the incense burner, though let's be honest: that is pretty amazing. The special draw is the gathering of pilgrims -- whether you walked 850 kilometers from St. Jean, 100 kilometers from Tui, or just 10 steps from your hotel, you are in Santiago, the ending point of the Way of St. James -- and you are a pilgrim. At mass today they announced all the pilgrims nationalities and starting points who received their Compostelas yesterday -- two proud American pilgrims here, beaming with accomplishment as they announced that pilgrims from Estados Unidos had arrived in Santiago from Oporto, Portugal.
We did everything on the Compostela checklist to ensure you are granted the indulgence: we walked the way of St. James with the hearts of a pilgrim, attended the pilgrim mass, prayed before the holy relics of St. James for the intentions of the holy father (viva Pope Francis!!!!), and went to confession. We also toured the cathedral, lit canceled for loved ones, prayed in the pilgrim chapel, and placed our hands upon the shoulders of St. James and thanked him for a safe journey thus far. Quite the full day in the church!!
After all that, we picked up our bags and went in search for a new home for the night. We chose "the last stamp", the albergue that I slept in the last time I was in Santiago. What a perfect way to end this trip -- with a little tribute to my first Camino. Next we had lunch: seafood paella. Yum yum yum. I love Spanish paella!! Although the little crawfish that still have their eyes and legs could be left out of my dish next time ... After lunch was shopping -- we needed a few items to bring back home; although the Compostela and our pilgrim passports are really all the "souvenirs" we need. And finally it was time for .... a nap. haha Walking all day is exhausting, but not walking all day is even worse!!
After a long rest, we went back to the plaza in front of the cathedral and watched other pilgrims arrive -- they always look so happy and relieved and triumphant. Collie met up with us there and we all went for dinner. And now we are back at the albergue ready to sleep.
Some pictures ...
Tonight we completed the difficult task of saying good bye to our fellow pilgrims. It is always hard to say good bye to the friends you make along the way; but this time is just a little bit easier since I'm taking my favorite pilgrim back home with me.
Tomorrow morning we take a train to Madrid -- more adventures to come!!